After working on his novel Family Life for seven years, Akhil Sharma began to lose his mind. Whenever he sat down to write, he began having panic attacks, the kind that left his chest feeling “constantly bruised” for months on end. Eventually, he hit on a solution: he learned to take his mind off his novel by praying for other people.
Geoff Dyer is fond of taking potshots at literary academics. He devotes considerable time in one of his novels to a professor whose speech at a conference goes off the rails. Which is why it’s odd that, in mid-July, the author showed up at a conference devoted to -- what else? -- his own work. (It's apropos to point out here that our own Mark O'Connell wrote a great essay for Slate about Dyer.)
As literary apprenticeships go, it’s hard to beat a chance to live with Doris Lessing. In 1963, not long after the death of Sylvia Plath, Jenny Diski moved in with the future Nobel laureate, who lived just north of King’s Cross in London at the time. In the LRB, Diski recounts her friendship with the novelist.
First Poor Yorick Entertainment emerged as a "visual exploration of the filmography of James O. Incandenza and the world of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest." Then, as The New York Times reports, "Parks and Recreation" co-creator Michael Schur paired up with The Decembrists to direct a music video inspired by the book. (You can watch the video on YouTube.) Now, thanks to this Radiolab podcast (and an alley-oop from @nateharris), another one of the novel's scenes is brought to life.
The New York Times recommends eight new books it thinks you'll like, including Alan Moore's Jerusalem, which we reviewed last month, and two novels – Jonathan Lethem's A Gambler's Anatomy, and Jade Chang's The Wangs vs. the World – that were on our own most-anticipated October list.
There was a time, believe it or not, when poets made appearances on widely-seen American talk shows. That time was the fifties and sixties, when Carl Sandburg appeared on The Today Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now. (He also gave a speech before Congress and competed on What's My Line?)
Point: "Repeated surveys show that children spend less time reading than did previous generations. They instead devote many hours of their waking lives to electronic screens of one kind or another." Counterpoint: "Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1989, spent the most money on books in 2011, taking over long-held book-buying leadership from baby boomers...with 43 percent of GenY's purchases going to online channels, they are adding momentum to the industry shift to digital." Conclusion?
“After receiving a hundred of his letters, meeting him fifteen times, either at his apartment on Bilu Street or at a Tel Aviv café, and receiving too many calls from his cell phone to ever hope to return, I gave up trying to count the number of times that Yoram Kaniuk had died.” Nicole Krauss remembers her relationship with Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk, author of The Last Jew, in her obituary for The New Yorker.